Giant rodent resides in Buda, TX - FOX 35 News Orlando

Giant rodent resides in Buda, TX

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At 120 pounds, Gari is big, but not exactly cuddly. The water-loving capybara is like another child to Buda resident, Melanie Typaldos.

His full name is Garibaldi Rous.

"It comes from "rodent of unusual size, which is a reference to the "Princess Bride." So, he is one of the three terrors of the fire swamp," Typaldos said.

Capybaras are known as the world's largest rodents, but Gari's lifestyle is far from what you might imagine.

He swims. He goes for walks, rides in cars and he even gets to sleep in bed with Melanie, when he feels like it.

"He wants to be around people all the time. They're herd animals. In the wild, they're always with other capybaras, so he wants to be with us. We're his herd," Typaldos said.

Capybaras are herbivores, grazing mainly on grasses and aquatic plants. In case you hadn't noticed, Gari doesn't graze.

"He's expensive to feed, whereas the grass would be free," she said.

He feeds on all kinds of lettuce, corn and a wide variety of treats, such as frosted mini-wheats.

"My daughter and I and actually my son too, the three of us took a trip down to Venezuela and we saw the capybaras in the wild," Typaldos said. "I feel like the more people get to know capybaras and appreciate them, the better chance they have of surviving in the wild."

Technically, Gari's species is not threatened, but they are hunted for their meat and hides. Melanie says he probably would have been lunch out in the wild.

"I don't know how people don't know about capybaras," she said. 

She found him through a breeder and now, Gari lives a pampered life, meeting new people every time Melanie takes him for a ride.

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